In preparation for the Olympics, the Chinese government is hiring female college students to serve as "ambassadors" from each of its major cities. Would you believe appearance is apparently factoring into the hiring decisions? And it's gotten competitive: in an effort to make sure its city is remembered for the most attractive girls, Shanghai officials established a list of VERY WEIRD STRICT appearance guidelines as to who ought to be hired for the job. Recruiters were instructed to seek out girls with "elastic skin" and a "ruddy and shiny complexion." (Re the "ruddy" part =I guess they're still supposed to pretend they like, revere peasants or something in China? Jezebel Sinophiles, do you know?) Much much weirder, the rules included strict ratios governing almost all the proportions of the face, and the posession of a "plump but not fat body."
Ummmmm, so the hostesses pictured above are plump? Anyway, the best part of the story is that officials totally denied there were any physical guidelines, and a local newspaper turned around and printed the little red rulebook in detailing all the specifications, according to the blog Shanghai Scrap (The URL looks like "Shanghai is crap", which would have been a better name but still.)
really wish that I had picked up on what might be some of the weirdest Olympics news of the year, hidden - in clear view - in this sentence from Xinhua's reiteration of the Xinmin Evening News story:
It also set strict standards on facial features, including the ratio between the "width of the nose and the length of the face", "width of the mouth and width between the pupils", Shanghai's Xinmin Evening News reported.
Fans of Leonardo DaVinci and/or Dan Brown's The DaVinci Code, should/could/will recognize what's going on here: the renowned Golden Ratio - 1.618 - has been enlisted to choose Shanghai's contingent of Olympic hostesses. There's a whole lot of internet literature on the Golden Ratio and its tenuous connection to Western aesthetics, so google around if you want a deeper explanation.
Oh, please Google it. And if you happen to read Chinese...click below for the rulebook itself. We are DYING for a translation.
Golden Ratios And Other Forbidden Fetishes Of Shanghai Bureaucrats [Shanghai Scrap]